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The Chilean ad agency Ogilvy & Mather commercial won a silver CLIO in May, but hasn’t got much publicity. It deserves more.


Written by Valerie Curl

July 18, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Learning from Charles Dickens….

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When Dickens wrote the Christmas Carol, Britain’s Parliament was dominated by faction that believed in an economic philosophy we now describe as “trickle down economics.” As far as I’ve been able to discern, the mid-1800s is the first time this economic philosophy was put into effect, more than a century before it was tried again during the Reagan administration.

It failed Britain’s working class as well as the many thousands of Irish who perished during the potato famine – just as it failed during Reagan and Bush 2.

Without a strong working class, the twin evils of ignorance and want are set loose upon the world, causing hunger, ignorance and want of basic necessities…and far too much misery for those who want to work and care for their families.

Most of us are far too young to remember conditions during and prior to the Great Depression. But the early scenes of Dickens “Christmas Carol” offer a brief glimpse into the conditions facing working class people, then and now. Do you remember poor houses? “Old folks homes” where seniors were warehoused and forgotten? Children removed from their poor families to be given away to families thousands of miles away, potentially as nothing more than indentured servants. Likely not. But conditions then were not pretty; they were far away from the United States we know today.

Is that the America to which we wish to return? An era of broken families, of hunger and want, of neglected and forgotten seniors?

Yet, much of the recent Tea Party/GOP rhetoric would have the U.S. return to that earlier, Dickens’ era.

Dickens was the probably the premier social commentator of his time, along with Jonathan Swift. However, this country appears to have forgotten the lessons of these early social commentators.

Earlier generations learned from their past: the Great Depression era programs saved many families – and seniors – from the prospects of workhouses, family destruction, and old folks warehouses.

I do not think the TEA/GOP know whereof they speak. And for that I am heartily ashamed.

Life in the hinterland. Meanwhile, DC politicians can’t see beyond the Beltway.

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Instead of watching or reading about politics, I’ve spent my time looking for a job. It’s not that I’m not interested in politics, it’s just that nothing has changed.

I hoped–really hoped–that once Obama was elected, he would be able to change the dynamics that has existed in DC over the last 15 years. However, that has not proven to be the case. Democrats continue to push spending policies that are ruinous to the budget. Republicans just say no to everything because all they really want is to dominate Washington again.

Meanwhile, the rest of us out here in the hinterland wonder how we’re going to survive, pay our bills, feed our kids, and keep a roof over our heads. While DC politicians are playing one-up-manship, ordinary people are wondering what is going on…and how they will keep their lives together.

Today, I met a hairdresser who has a thriving business, but her life has been turned upside down. The building housing her shop is in foreclosure. The person owning the building hasn’t made a payment in six months. The bank is due to take over the building and put it up for auction any time now. Her lease will come to an end, and all the work and money she’s put in to her shop will be for nought. She said she knows she’s going to have to move and rebuild her place of business. The cost will be thousands.

She works from eight in the morning until six at night, Monday through Friday. All alone. She has a good clientele, but having to move will be an enormous financial burden for her business. She hired an attorney to see what her options are, but as she said today, there really are no options for her. She’s going to have to start all over again. As she told me her story, her eyes expressed her fear and sorrow, even while she tried to sound hopeful.

This is a woman who has done everything right. She built her business on her own. Worked hard to create her business. Now she has to spend thousands to recreate her business. Is this what the “American Dream” is all about?

So, as Washington politicians play partisan games and hype themselves in the media, people like this hardworking hairdresser are being financially ruined. Alice’s Wonderland is alive and well in DC.

Don’t we deserve better?

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